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Safety First for Baby Skin Care

Posted: August 28, 2008, from the April 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.
Say the words skin care and inevitably what comes to mind are those antiaging products aimed at slowing the hands of time, not those designed for the still-youthful skin of children. Yet just as prevention becomes a larger part of the antiaging discussion, so does caring for young skin. While children’s toiletries may be a small segment of the overall skin care market, it has potential for growth as consumers demand safe products for their children.

Better Ingredients, Better Skin Care

Gentle “no tears” formulations are associated with younger consumers. Johnson & Johnson, for example, has built their brand reputation around the idea of gentle skin care for babies and children. The brand’s philosophy falls in line with the trend of natural skin care for the youngest consumers, based on the medical axiom: First, do no harm. New natural skin care lines are introduced regularly; however, for baby skin care, the presence of natural ingredients should not be the deciding factor when selecting a product, according to one marketer. “One must ensure that all ingredients, even the natural ones, respect the delicate nature of baby’s skin,” said Rebecca Infusino, sales and marketing manager, Mustela USA, a baby and mother-to-be skin care line best known for its premium-priced and specialized products with multi-language packaging.

As parabens and other ingredients come under fire in the media, consumers are looking for products free of these ingredients. While consumers today are more label conscious, they also are educating themselves about ingredient risks and benefits. “The trend is for more and more awareness about the need for safety and quality, yet more companies are producing baby-safe products using the natural claim when in fact the ingredients are far from natural,” said Natalie Geary, MD, vedaPure, a baby skin care line with offerings for the whole family.

“The overriding concern for any ingredient being used in the baby skin care market is safety,” said Infusino. Consumers are looking for brands that demonstrate a concern for safety and manifest it through extensive testing. “Children and babies have a higher surface to volume ratio, so the amount of absorption of product through the skin and into the bloodstream is higher. Therefore, the quality and safety of the ingredients used is that much more important,” said Geary.

As a result, a brand entering this market must make educating the consumer about its philosophy and product line a key part of its marketing strategy. “When parents purchase any product for their baby, safety is their top concern, along with efficacy, as we all want products that perform well,” said Infusino.

Ease and Education